I spent last week in writing classes with students who didn’t pass the EOC test. What I learned: the STAAR writing exam is definitely better than TAKS; however, as long as the test is the one factor that matters over all others, our public education system is broken.
When I was in school–I know…a long time ago–we started learning how to write all the different types of essays in 4th grade. We built on that foundation every year. By 8th grade I could write any essay given to me, and I had no problem differentiating what I was being asked to write. High school essay writing was about becoming a more sophisticated writer. We didn’t focus on one type of writing over all others in any of those years. We focused on writing. All of it.
Today’s teachers don’t have the luxury of teaching everything they know needs to be taught in a school year. They have to focus on everything a testing company says must be taught in a year, and that focus leaves huge holes in students’ overall education.
I hear politicians say “If we’re teaching the test, at least we’re teaching something,” and I wonder where they went to school. I can count on one hand the bad teachers I had in 13 years of public education. All of them would’ve been bad teachers, regardless of the test. All but one of them would’ve met the standards of teaching to the test. But man we were bored in those classes.
I see great teachers today who consider getting out of the teaching business because it’s all about the test. They’re not able to practice their craft.
I don’t think the test needs to go away, but the way we structure everything around the test needs to change. Until that happens, we’ll continue down the road to the ruination of public schools.#
I’ll be back with vacation pics tomorrow.